Portland’s SW Corridor Transit Plan and Real Estate

portland real estate market news

About a decade ago, Portland’s public transportation was considered some of the best in the nation. However, as labor costs went up, federal funding dried up, and the city’s population ballooned, the Portland transit service declined in popularity. Now, Metro, the regional planning agency that oversees public transit, is putting its bets on the new Southwest Corridor plan to relieve clogged freeways around Portland.

The Southwest Corridor plan, which will include a new MAX light rail line running through Tigard and out to Tualatin, is still in the planning stages. Construction won’t begin for another six years, but six years is not a long time in terms of real estate investment. Homebuyers and homeowners in Southwest Portland would like to know — how will this impact my long term home value?

To get to an answer, let’s take a closer look at the communities that make up Southwest Portland and how they’ve already responded to increased real estate demand.

Tigard

Tigard is the 13th most populous city in Oregon. Numbering roughly 50,000, residents of Tigard make up a fifth of the total population of the Portland metro area. The city has a reputation as a place that’s friendly, quiet and with plenty of open space compared to the denser urban center of Portland. It’s ranked at #8 for “top suburbs for millennials in Oregon” on niche.com.

Tigard is in a unique position to transform its urban landscape with the Southwest Corridor plan. According to a recent article in the Portland Tribune, the city is already in the process of making zoning changes to allow dynamic, mixed-used neighborhoods to flourish in zones that consist, according to the article, “of huge box stores and endless parking lots.” Instead, it continues, “Imagine mixed-use neighborhoods with jobs and housing for all income levels, schools and parks, grocers and stores, bike paths and light rail, sidewalks, and green spaces.”

The writers were referring specifically to the Tigard Triangle, a 500-acre area in the northeast corner of the city. At about 500 acres, it is roughly two and a half times the size of downtown Tigard. Its name comes from the shape that is created by three freeways: Interstate 5 to the east which connects to Portland, and Highways 217 and 99W on the southwest and north sides. Despite this proximity to transportation corridors, the area lacks access to them.

The proposed Southwest Corridor MAX light rail line could make transportation a lot easier for residents across the southwest Portland metro area, especially the Tigard Triangle. The line would connect downtown Portland to Tigard and Bridgeport Village in Tualatin, another up-and-coming suburb of Portland.

Tualatin

With a population of 27,000, Tualatin is roughly half the size of Tigard. For those who prefer an organized, new-urbanist feel, Tualatin is definitely a suburb to check out. In addition to the picturesque Bridgeport Village, an outdoor shopping mall in the European tradition, Tualatin is known for the Tualatin Commons. This 5-acre plaza surrounds Tualatin lake, with shopping, offices, homes and businesses along with plenty of places to just relax and enjoy the views.

Like all Portland suburbs, Tualatin is seeing a good amount of growth that’s not expected to slow down anytime soon. In 2016, according to U-Haul, Tualatin had the second highest number of incoming movers in the U.S. for cities of its size (population less than 50,000).
We could go on and on about real estate in Portland’s Hottest Suburb, but we already have! Check out our blog post here.

Sherwood and Wilsonville

Currently, the proposed MAX Southwest Corridor line would stop at Bridgeport Village, which actually lies between Tigard and Tualatin. Still, the improved connectivity would be a boon for the smaller communities outlying these population hubs. Specifically, Sherwood, which lies southwest of Tualatin along Highway 99W, and Wilsonville, which is further east along the I5 corridor.

Sherwood is known as the “gateway to wine country,” with an annual Wine Festival downtown. It has won awards as being one of the greatest small towns in America to raise a family, and enjoys great access to the outdoors. Numerous state parks are within an easy drive of Sherwood, as is the Oregon Coast.

Like Tualatin and Tigard, Wilsonville is known as shoppers’ destination, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Conveniently located right on the I5 corridor, this former farming town is a business hub and economic hotspot. It recently added 2,600 homes through its Villebois development, and is petitioning Metro to add several hundred more acres to its Urban Growth Boundary for even more housing. In the future, Wilsonville may be the top place to find affordable housing within the Portland metro area.

Getting to Portland is a little bit more of a drive from Sherwood and Wilsonville, which is why the proposed light rail line could be a game-changer. Even with the 10-to-20-minute drive to the Bridgeport Village station from either one of these suburbs, when traffic is backed up along the major freeways leading into Portland, taking the MAX will provide some welcome relief for commuters.

Portland’s “Southwest Corridor” Real Estate Market

The RMLS Portland real estate market report for May 2018 puts the median home price in the Southwest Corridor at $450,000. Year-to-date the median sale price is a little lower, at $430,000. Overall the median home price for the Portland metro area is at $399,500 year-to-date, but that reflects some huge variation: from just under $300,000 in Columbia county to $580,000 in Lake Oswego/West Linn.

The average sales price percent change in the Tigard/Tualatin/Sherwood/Wilsonville area was 8.8% over last year as of May. Compare that to the Portland metro area overall, where sales prices grew 7.1% last year.

Southwest Portland was also #3 for the number of closed sales in the Portland area in May. It had 237, putting it just behind West Portland (downtown), which had 267. (Southeast Portland was #1 for closed sales in May 2018, at 361).

With the booming popularity of Southwest Portland, how long will home prices remain in the middle of the pack for the metro area? Have you had a Comparative Market Analysis done on your home lately? If not, fill out our form online or give us a call.

July 6, 2018
AUTHOR

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111. Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team.  For our Clark County, Washington buying and selling services go here.